Teach and Travel with a Non-Profit in Austria

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About

A perfect post-grad or gap-year opportunity for those seeking to gain professional development and qualifications while making a difference in the lives of children - Apply today!

Teach and travel in Austria with a non-profit while earning an internationally recognised TEFL qualifications! As a Student Teacher on our TEFL Program (including the TEFL-YL, Trinity CertTESOL and Cambridge CELT-P), you travel with your teaching practice group while learning to teach English to young learners. Student Teachers spend more than 300 hours in the classroom helping children learn English in fun and engaging lessons.

Successful candidates will receive shared accommodation, basic food vouchers, teaching materials and transportation to and from schools. Welfare staff is there to support Student Teachers throughout their time in beautiful Austria.

Our Job Placement Program offers Student Teacher with CV assistance resources for finding and applying to TEFL positions around the globe.

Highlights
  • Teach and travel in one of the safest and most scenic countries in Europe!
  • FREE accommodation, a basic food allowance and program related travel.
  • Over 300 hours of classroom teaching experience including 29 observed hours.
  • One-on-one mentoring and support from qualified Course Tutors and experienced Senior Teachers.
  • Make a difference completing your teaching practice with a non-profit initiative aimed at spreading education and cultural awareness.

Questions & Answers

Yes, up-to-date details can be sought from the centre itself, but last year there was a €100 contribution towards costs and a €50 deposit. Basic accommodation and basic foodstuffs are included in return for a lot of training experience, lots of teaching and the CertTESOL qualification. It's hard work but worth it!
The skills learnt on this course are many and varied and will definitely be used in any classroom interaction in the future. As well as learning practical, classroom skills for teaching English, general classroom management and learner support, you'll learn a range of transferable skills that will support your personal and professional development out of the classroom.

Reviews

80%
based on 29 reviews
  • Benefits 8.3
  • Support 8.1
  • Fun 8.3
  • Facilities 9
  • Safety 8.3
  • Instruction 7
  • Support 6.7
  • Value 7.3
  • Difficulty 9
  • Job Assistance 7.8
Showing 1 - 15 of 29
Default avatar
Becka
3/10

Too good to be true?

I wish to start by saying that before I applied I tried to do as much research as I could about the college before applying. I looked at the reviews I watched the youtube videos and thought this must be too good to be true. Turns out it was.

Reviews
If you google 'The English Teacher Training College' or 'ABCi' you'll find blogs and forums with more honest feedback.

Cert TESOL
The main reason I applied was due to the low cost and the chance to get the Cert TESOL qualification. The reality is that the training for this qualification is left on the back burner and there are hardly any training sessions on teaching methodologies, language awareness, and other aspects. Although I have managed to pass my assignments I am still coming away feeling disappointed and that I haven't really earned the Cert TESOL. Comments have been made by the moderator from Trinity that the course is currently not to standard due to the complete lack of adult teaching that is involved. Be prepared that all your assignments, exams and portfolios will all be due at once at the very end of your course.

ABCi
On a daily basis you will be expected to travel to school with a senior-teacher and teach the ABCi programme to either Volksschule (primary) or NMS (secondary) school children. The programme is very repetitive and mainly consists of playing games whilst you talk English and try get them to respond to you. As such I feel we increase the confidence of the students but no actual new teaching is provided to them.

Living Conditions
There are currently 3 campuses (Vorchdorf, Pressbaum and Wolfsberg). I spent the first 4 weeks in Pressbaum before changing over to Wolfsberg. Pressbaum is in a great location due to its proximity to Vienna. However, the girls are living inside a boarding school with only a tiny fridge and a microwave. I found myself attempting to cook eggs and pasta in the microwave and using the kettle to make couscous - 4 weeks dragged on. The boys live in a shared small flat, also next to the school. When I was there the flat was infested with ants with 1 kitchen and 1 washing machine between upto 20+ student teachers.
I spent the rest of my time in 'Wolfsberg' the closest town. The campus is actually located in a remote village called Frantschach St Getraud. The village has one shop that is very expensive and you would not be able to get all of your groceries from there. The house sits opposite a giant paper factory so please expect a lot of noise and pollution. It smells a lot too. Due to its location you are about a 50min walk to the nearest town of Wolfsberg where there are more shops, bars and restaurants. To get anywhere else it is very costly on the bus even with the discount OBB card.

Staff
Currently there is very little standardisation across the campuses or across different members of staff. Senior teachers with have different sets of expectations for different student teachers. There is a lot of talk about professionalism. Most of the staff are anything but. There has been several circumstances that have been considered questionable and inappropriate and when discussed with senior management they don't appear to take it seriously. There are many instances of favouritism, senior teachers will give special treatment to those they like and partially victimise others.

Free time
After transferring to Wolfsberg we found out that there was a campus car that has been made available to student teachers who volunteer to drive. During the weekends the group made several road trips to Venice, Trieste, Hallstatt, Lake Bled, Ljubljana and Klagenfurt. Having the car has been a huge highlight of the trip for me as it made central Europe more accessible and travelling by road was extremely scenic. Whilst living in Pressbaum we were able to take the bus to Budapest for the weekend.

To summarise you will get your Cert TESOL but the chances are you will be living unhappily and overworked. Had it not been for the support of fellow student teachers going through the same situation I would've considered quitting. A fate many others did choose. If you are in the position to do so I would do this course elsewhere, although the course appears to be value for money you will spend far more than you would expect to on food and excursions. If you do decide to come on the course the more organised you can be the better, get to know your colleagues and try and enjoy it. :)

How can this program be improved?
The programme and organisation of the Cert TESOL component needs completely reworked. Too many weeks are focused on teaching the ABCi programme in schools when training sessions on Cert TESOL and language awareness could be given.
It took months to get marks back for the first assignment which led to backlog of marking the subsequent assignments. This meant people were resubmitting assignments for moderation the day before.
No, I don't recommend
Default avatar
Jonathon
7/10

A true test of willpower and perseverance

I have actually completed 2 course with ABCi, the first back in 2014; with not teaching experience and the second; with 4 months of teaching in Austria. The first course that I did was very light on the amount of preparation needed to teach in schools. The program is already designed with a guide that you take into class with you, each school you teach at is the same program(this is great for improving your confidence and fluency of instruction giving). After teaching for 6 lessons at school, we would drive back and have a debrief session about the day and any issues that came up. Then we would have small inputs for an hour or so every Thursday to cover some grammar and technical language. This was the first course: Fun, Easy and a great learning experience.

My second time was in 2016 and it was very different. In the years that I had been absent many of the staff members had left and the company had grown a lot, both in a good way and a bad. Let´s talk about the good first: The first course I was in a group of 4(myself and 3 girls), this meant that although I did get along with them, we were never super chummy. However, for this course living in a house with 15-20 other awesome people, all eager to learn, teach and to party. This was much better. Although living with so many people was a little bit of a chance from my normal habitations, it was nothing that I hadn´t experienced before. After spending over 2 years travelling to over 60 countries, I have spent a fair amount of time in communal housing and even many a night sleeping on a beach or out in the forest. For me, 20 new friends was a great way to improve my teaching abilities. As well and the close bonds that I made, the inputs that we had(although still rather dry) were much more informative and forced me to research and take personal initiative to improve to keep up with the workload. This did take a toll on my heath and sucked a lot of time out of my fitness schedule(the drinking didn´t help either), however in the end it left me with 100% confidence of walking into a classroom of students and teaching a lesson without any fears. I had the opportunity to live in 3 different regions of Austria, a country with unquestionable beauty. To this day, as I drive around, I am still awestruck every time I drive past through Salzkammergut or through the Alps.

Let´s get to the bad then: I´ll make this simple and just use dot points
-THIS IS NOT A FULL TIME HOLIDAY! Yes, you do have time off in the evening and weekends, however it is mostly taken up by preparation and planning. However, almost every weekend we were throwing house parties with the locals, watching the World Cup and playing football in the park.
-The growth of the organisation has meant that a lot of new staff come and go quite quickly. However, this is not all due to ABCi and the work. Austria is also a very expensive country to settle.
-The lack of appreciation that you get for teaching. This is a big one. After teaching for 6 hours and then having inputs in the afternoon. All you need is a couple of beers and a pat on the back. Then it´s all worth it. Come on ABCi, fork out a couple more bevs and the teachers will stick around a bit longer.
-Cleanliness at the accommodations. This was pretty bad at some times, however I think half of the fault were the British that really can´t look after themselves. Mum isn´t going to clean up after you, mate.

Overall, I enjoyed my time on the 2 course. Both very different. I would recommend this anyone wanting to gain experience and test what it would be like to teach. If you like it, stick around, if not, just leave. Easy.

Now to the present:
I am currently working for ABCi and have been for a year now. The difference in being a Student Teacher and being an employee are immense. For one, Austria is much more comfortable to live in when you are earning money. Hello good beer :) I spend my day driving around the country reaching out to schools to book projects, part of this meant learning more German(which I have greatly improved), this also means seeing some amazing sight and of course meeting lots of Austrian teachers that are incredibly friendly and teaching Austrian students that are so eager and amazed to interact with an Australian.

How can this program be improved?
-Less teaching per week for teachers.
-Better planning for projects, prior to the week or day.
-Prizes and awards for Student Teacher that go above and beyond to deliver top notch lessons.
Response from The English Teacher Training College

Dear Jonathon,
thank you for your honest feedback about your experiences with ABCi. We agree that the programs appeal most to open-minded, down-to-earth people like yourself with the "you get out what you put in" mentality!

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
John
10/10

A great way to become a teacher

My friends and family are still a bit surprised by my sudden decision to go into teaching and even more surprised that I seem to be good at it! A great program that taught me to be an effective teacher in a few months. I came into it with a liberal arts degree and no background in teaching. I had never taught at all before, and I have found that I love it, it is my calling! The great part about what ABCi does and what really sets it apart from others is the large amount of assessed and unassessed teaching practice that you get. You are teaching in real classrooms in state schools alongside experienced teachers and teacher trainers. The classroom experience each morning is supplemented by theoretical training in the afternoon. In general, these match up pretty well so that you can apply what you learn each afternoon in subsequent morning sessions. They tell you in advance that the course is intense and that the days are long, and it's true: you leave most mornings between 6am and 6:30am and the theory inputs end most days at 4:30. It sort of feels like a boot camp for teachers because even when you get back to the apartments, you're generally doing lesson planning with each other and discussing the teaching that you did that day and will do tomorrow. But that's a good thing! I think it's safe to say that I learned nearly as much from my peers in the evening as I did from the course tutors on the course during the day. Ultimately, it is really is the sort of thing where you get out of it what you put into it. If you go into it with unrealistic expectations or a bad attitude, you’re probably not going to enjoy it. If you want to be spoon fed, if think this is the kind of course where you can get drunk and not show up, if you think that you can just show up and be handed a certificate for doing the bare minimum, than save yourself the disapointment and go and do an online course instead. Unless you have a doctor's note, you need to show up each day and do the coursework to get the certfication. I think the other people in your group have a real impact on your experience as well. One thing that I didn't realize at first was that the Welfare team at the college is genuinely willing to help, but you need to speak up and say that something is wrong: some of the stuff that went wrong between individual students, bad blood or whatever, they had no idea about until we told them. In terms of learning by doing, where you really learn a lot is from watching experienced teachers teach, watching your peers teach, and getting feedback from experienced teachers who have watched you teach. The hardest part for me personally was being filmed and watching myself teaching (or micro-teaching) to reflect on my own teaching, but it was a great way to really quickly realize what I could do better. Plus, it's free: they provide a "scholarship" that covers course fees, the apartments, and travel to and from the schools. This thing didn't even exist 6 years ago and now it's a resource for tens of thousands of young Austrians who want to learn English and hundreds of native-speakers who want to become proper English teachers. All so Austrian kids get free English projects and native speakers can free teacher training... What a great idea and a cool thing to be a part of! If you're willing to put in the time and do the work, you will come out the other end a great teacher.

How can this program be improved?
More spacious accommodation in Vorchdorf would be nice. I heard that they were going to build a dorm behind the existing building there in the long term and add another apartment in the short term, so that should take care of that. If someone leaves or fails the course, it can put stress on the other student teachers, so they plan enough teaching practice for the student teachers in advance at the start of the course. That said, admissions have apparently increased the group sizes so that they are adding more student teachers in the future to make-up for anyone who leaves the course. The car rides are long, but they are filled with conversations about grammar and teaching. That said, there was at least one staff member who just turned on the radio and zoned out - it seemed to me that if they were being paid to drive to and from the school that they should be engaging the students in conversation and answering questions at that time as well. Communication was sometimes poor but for a young organization growing so quickly that is understandable: I can see that changes are being made to fix this on future courses.
Response from The English Teacher Training College

Dear John,
thank you for your review of your time with ABCi! I'm glad you got a lot out of it and like I always say about this organisation - "you get out what you put in".
All the best for your future teaching career!

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Stevii
1/10

An overall negative experience

Let me start our with what was good: the CertTESOL. It is extremely helpful and well-respected, and great for getting a job later. Therefore what you get in the input sessions is very useful material.

The reason I stayed for the whole program is because I'm a fairly stable person, because I made some really great friends there (adversity bonds people very well), and because I had the opportunity to continue improving my German. I didn't realise until just over two months in that I should have quit earlier, but by then I was too close to finishing to quit.

However, there are many ways to get a CertTESOL. This program advertises itself as a scholarship program, but if you take into account 4 months' living costs (reasonable living costs, not the 25 euros a week that they recommend), you will end up spending at least as much money on this course as you would on a normal intensive course that you have to pay for. In addition, you will have a much lower quality of life.

Let's start with the hours. They advertise that a benefit of the longer program is more class hours than a traditional TEFL course. This is true. They advertise that you will get at least 200 hours of teaching experience. I got 350. However, it was 100% not worth it. 200 hours of teaching would have made this program so much more reasonable. Teaching a full school day with no lessons free is not something that normal Austrian teachers do, and they were shocked that we had to do it. Having to plan and implement lessons for students that you've never met before is not something that any CertTESOL program is supposed to do, and Trinity College was shocked that we had to do it. Waking up as early as 4am (the average was around 5 or 5:30, contrary to what they tell you) to get in the car and not finishing input sessions until after 5pm, sometimes without even time for lunch is just ridiculous.

If you are applying for this program, I'm sure you already know about the long hours. The real issue comes in with the complete lack of understanding from staff. They expected us to be fully present and participating in these input sessions as if we weren't completely exhausted, and some of the staff led these input sessions in such a condescending way that it was completely unbearable and I had to leave the room. They also consistently refused to acknowledge the fact that we were teachers. We did all of the teaching for them, and they present us as teachers to the Austrian schools (most of whom are under the impression that we are being paid, mind you, apart from one teacher I met who actually knew the leadership staff and made sure that we were treated extra well at her school to try and make up for our experience at the office), but outside of the schools, we were treated as useless, replaceable volunteers.

The place where you are treated the worst is undoubtedly Vorchdorf, so if you do end up deciding to go here, avoid it at all costs. My group was there at the beginning and the end of the program, and I burst out crying and had a breakdown during the input session the day before we had to go back because I just could not handle the staff there.

The standard of living on this program is miserable. The accomodation is crowded, dirty, and completely neglected by staff. When the refrigerator and oven broke, it took them weeks to replace the refrigerator and the oven was never replaced. When the toilet was overflowing, they refused to hire a plumber and instead forced one of the course tutors to take care of it after a very long period of complaining.

A lot of what you see about this program online is false advertising. You will have almost no time for traveling, because you will be too exhausted to do anything other than sleep and eat during your free time on weekdays. There are no bicycles, you will only see most of Austria through a car window (and you might even sleep through it, if you're lucky), you will 100% be spending much more than 25 euros a week even if you're thrifty.

Towards the end of my experience there, I had the pleasure of seeing one of the emails that was sent to the admissions staff, stating regulations for specific phrases they need to use in order to make this program seem more appealing, because they were having a lot of problems with recruitment due to bad reviews, a lot of staff quitting, etc. This is really representative of the organisation as a whole. All they want is for the Austrian government, schools, and potential staff and student teachers to see them as a great organisation, when on the inside it is one of the most miserable places that I have ever had the displeasure of working at (SORRY, I meant "student teaching practice").

Please be aware that A LOT (not all, but a lot) of the positive reviews here were forcibly written by staff because ABCi is extremely concerned about the negative reviews it gets from student teachers. I am still in contact with people who have been staff there until recently, and nothing discernable has changed.

How did I survive 4 months here? Friends and wine. One of the ways we expressed our frustration was through song, and I think this is a good way to end the review:

5 to 5 chorus (to the tune of 9 to 5 by Dolly Parton)
Workin' 5 to 5
What a way to make no money
Bein' treated like
We don't know s**t, it ain't funny
We just lose our minds
And they never give us credit
It's enough to make you crazy if you let it!

Response from The English Teacher Training College

Dear Stevii,

We are sorry to hear that you had a negative experience during your time here. We can assure you that the staff here care about the Student Teachers’ well-being. The Student Teachers on your intake had quite a full teaching schedule due to the large number of Austrian schools who had booked English projects with our Bilingual Classroom Initiative. It is completely understandable to find the full days of teaching to be very taxing. The schedule has been amended so that Student Teachers are spending less time in the classroom and are given free periods and Professional Development Days in order to prepare lesson plans and catch up on assignments.

The College is apologetic concerning course staff who were perceived as condescending. Of course this was never the intention of any staff member. The course staff model classroom teaching in the input sessions in order to give the Student Teachers additional practical teaching examples. We understand that there were also negative feedback regarding a second name policy that was enforced during the particular course. This was enforced due to feedback from a previous course, but has also been amended due to more recent feedback. The College is always willing to take on input from Student Teachers, and we encourage Student Teachers to let us know if they are feeling uneasy with any aspect of the program.

As for the accommodation, they are rented properties and we apologize if issues were not responded to immediately by the landlord. The College has ameliorated this by employing our own Facility Coordinators who are responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of the Student Teacher accommodation. We have supplied bikes to the Wolfsberg campus, while the other campuses are in short walking distance from train and bus stations. Other equipment such as grills and benches have been delivered to all campuses. Evenings, weekends and public holidays are free. It is possible that a heavy teaching schedule and a lack of public holidays during the duration of your program could have led to less time to travel. Regarding the amount of additional funds is reasonable to budget for in addition to the food allowance, we will definitely be collecting input from our Student Teachers and amending our recommendations accordingly.

One thing we have to take issue with is that “A LOT (not all, but a lot) of the positive reviews here were forcibly written by staff”. We can assure you that not a single one of the reviews, positive or negative, on this page was written by someone who was a member of staff at the time of writing. Some of them (for full disclosure Toby, John, Danny, Michael, Emmet) came to work with ABCi after they were on the program, and after they had written their positive review. This is precisely because they did have a great time on the course and wanted to continue their time here, and of course try to improve things for future generations, as we always try to do.

We know it will be of little comfort to you now, but we are always trying to improve the experience our Student Teacher have and we appreciate the time you took to provide us with the critical feedback. We will be taking it on board. We apologize for any aspect of the program which was not to the standard you expected and we hope you can understand that as a non-profit, the staff are doing their best to provide the best experience for Student Teachers. There would be no point working for a non-profit, 1000s of miles away from most of our homes, if we did not.

No, I don't recommend
Default avatar
Shannon
9/10

The Call to Adventure

When I applied to the winter 2017 CertTESOL course, the word ‘adventure’ was appropriate for my overall feelings of what lay ahead. Looking back, my experiences reflect Joseph Campbell’s concepts of the ‘Hero’s Journey’ and the ‘Call to Adventure’. In essence this refers to when a person, living their normal life, suddenly receive an invitation or information which acts as a call to head into the unknown. To offer some perspective, I graduated in July 2016 with a BA (Hons) degree in History from Queen’s University Belfast. Like many graduates, I was stuck in this awkward limbo, unsure where the next chapter of my life would unfold. Looking back on it now, the day I stumbled upon the English Teacher Training College and their CertTESOL course on the Guardian jobs website was a blessing. This was my ‘Call to Adventure’.

Prior to beginning the course I had limited teaching experience. As a result of this, it is fair to say that when I first entered an Austrian classroom, I was a bag of nerves. Unlike other TEFL organisations, one of the key benefits of the CertTESOL course offered by the College is the sheer degree of classroom experience you gain during the four month course. By April 2017 I had taught in fifteen different Austrian schools, and acquired 316 hours of teaching experience. To put it simply, you will be a teacher by the end of this course, and you will have the credentials to back this up. Whilst progressing through the course, the feeling of fear when entering a new classroom on a Monday morning had gradually subsided to a feeling of excitement and anticipation, as my confidence in the classroom increased. One of my favourite aspects of teaching was building rapport with my students. If I’ve learned anything from Austrian students, they love three things; bottle flips, selfies, and pink fluffy unicorns. If you have done the course, you know what I mean.

The course is challenging. It is intense. However, from my perspective, the intensity of both teaching in the classroom alongside working towards the CertTESOL qualification only helped to develop my character as both a person and a teacher. When you are waking up at 5am in the morning, travelling to schools, teaching, returning to campus for input sessions, and then working on lessons plans and assignments, you have to grow certain character virtues. Perseverance, discipline, creativity, courage, and leadership are just a few of the personal characteristics I enhanced thanks to my time in Austria.

One of the main reasons I enjoyed my time in Austria, and successfully completed the course is thanks to the people I met along the journey. Whether it was my fellow student-teachers, course tutors, or specific people working within the English Teacher Training College itself, they all had a positive impact on my time in Austria, helping me along the way. Although it sounds cheesy, the people you will meet during your time in Austria will become like a big extended family. Moreover, although a lot of work is involved, I was also fortunate enough to travel to various cities and places throughout Austria and even Germany in my free time. I visited Hallstatt, Salzburg, Gmunden, Passau, and Vienna, to name a few.

On your time in the course you will be split between two campuses; either Vorchdorf in Upper Austria or Pressbaum in the outskirts of Vienna. If you are on the course I would encourage you to complete your assignments as soon as you can, or at least take an hour out of your day each day to work on completing assignments, rather than rushing at the last minute. I would recommend bringing between 800-1000 euro for living expenses, like food and travel. Honestly you could survive on a lot less, it just depends on how much you would be willing to spend. For a weekly shop, I got by on 25-30 euros. Also if you are travelling in Austria I highly recommend you get an OBB card. It costs 19 euro, however it reduces train prices by 45%. It is a valuable investment. Knowing German isn't a pre-requisite of the course, but I would encourage you to learn or pick up bits and pieces during your time in Austria, even if it just simple greetings. Near the Pressbaum campus, there is a local Cafe called Cafe Corso. I highly recommend going there. The prices are decent and they do really good hot chocolate and cake. In terms of shops, in Vorchdorf you have an ample supply; including Hofer (Aldi), Lidl, Spar, dm (Like Boots in the UK), and Libro. In Pressbaum, your closest shop is Hofer, and there is also Lidl and a dm, which are about a 15 minute walk away from Hofer. The weather throughout January and February, for the most part, was very, very cold. In January it could get low as -10 degrees. However by March- April, the weather improved drastically. It got as high as 25 degrees.

Overall, I would say just have fun with your time in Austria. Yes, it is challenging and intense, but embrace the struggle, embrace being thrown out of your comfort zone. It is a truly unique experience. When you finish the course, you'll come out of it a stronger person. My time in Austria is something I'll never regret. The people I met, the places I saw, and the memories I made will be something I'll always cherish. It may sound cliched, but a piece of my heart will always remain in Austria. To those thinking about applying; take a leap of faith and trust yourself. Show courage. Accept the 'Call to Adventure'. You won't regret it.

Response from The English Teacher Training College

Dear Shannon,
thanks for your honest review of your time on the program, and your lovely photos!
All the best for your next steps in your international career!

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Travis
8/10

Challenging and Rewarding

My experience at ABCi was challenging but overall it was worth it because I got to see what it felt like to be a teacher and now I have a valued certification. If you are considering a career in education this course is a good way to see how you feel leading a class. You can gain student teaching practice and receive observations/feedback without committing to a graduate program.

That being said, volunteering at ABCi is very much like working a full-time job. I often felt exhausted at the end of a day of driving, teaching and attending an input session. If you are an organized and hardworking person, then this course is manageable. If you are anything other than that, then this course will not be easy. There is a high volume of written assignments outside of teaching and preparing lesson plans. Our teaching portfolios were about 2 inches thick of double sided paper once we finished the course. As a longtime procrastinator I recognized early on that I needed to become better at managing my time. Having done so, I was able to enjoy weekend train trips into the surrounding areas and neighboring countries.

Now that I've completed the course I feel very employable in the ESL job market. I learned how to make lesson plans and gained roughly 350 hours of classroom teaching experience. Many people in the program had lined up jobs all over the world before the course was finished. My confidence as a teacher grew exponentially. I worked and lived with a fun and multicultural group of people.

Response from The English Teacher Training College

Dear Travis,
thanks for taking the time to leave an honest review of your time with ABCi (I know it must have been hard for "a longtime procrastinator"!)
All the best for your future teaching adventures!

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Hayley
8/10

Hard graft but a highly valuable and practical experience

I completed the college's CELT-P course in Autumn 2016 and have returned for the Winter 2017 CertTESOL course. Whilst the workload was somewhat excessive on the CELT-P course, there were also many advantages to studying and gaining teaching practice with ABCi and the English Teacher Training College.

One of the best things about the courses is that they provide you with plenty of practical teaching experience in a wide variety of schools throughout the country. The teaching practice combines the delivery of a set programme with the implementation of your own lesson ideas. This aspect of the course was excellent as you become familiar with many tried and tested activities and language games which can be easily adapted and used in different situations.

Teaching the programme also allows you to really focus on your delivery in the classroom and improve on things like behaviour management techniques. Although I had done a PGCE and had worked as a language teacher for several years before beginning the course, it was a real eye-opener for me as I had chance to observe my peers and course tutors on a regular basis. This exposed me to different teaching styles and techniques and the support and feedback from course tutors was very helpful indeed. They gave me some great ideas about how to improve my own teaching methods and encouraged me to be more creative and adventurous in my lesson planning.

As far as I know, these advantages are unique to the college as most other CertTESOL or CELT-P courses will not provide as much teaching practice or as many opportunities to observe and be observed by experienced teachers. At the end of the day, I decided to return to the college because I really enjoyed teaching their programme, I felt that there was a lot of support from the course tutors and I knew that there was so much more to be learned from them by completing a second course. It is also a great deal financially as you gain an internationally recognised teaching qualification free of charge whilst living in some really beautiful places in Austria.

Response from The English Teacher Training College

We thank you for your kind words, Hayley!

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Grace
8/10

Intense but so worth it.

There are a lot of mixed reviews of ABCi but my experience was very positive.

I have never worked so hard in my life: I spent 4 months waking up between 4.30 and 5.30am to work at schools that could be up to a 1 hour and 45 minute drive, teach for 6 hours, then return to do 2-3 hour training sessions. As well as teaching I had to study and do assignments as I was completing the CERT-TESOL (which is a very good certificate to have in the ESL world) so I didn't have much free time throughout my time spent in Austria. But, with the time I did get off, I had the chance to visit different places in Austria as well as Hungary and Germany a couple of times!

This course is not a holiday. It is hard work but rewarding work. I taught students aged 6-19 in 18 weeks of teaching and I also gave one-on-one adult lessons. The adult lessons were pretty unorganised which was unfortunate but it was good experience nonetheless.

Although this course is a lot of hard work, the support I was given from my senior teachers was incredible. They would give me all the support I needed, answer any silly question I had and most importantly, made the long days fun. This course relies on the support you all give each other (between trainees, senior teachers and staff). As it is so intense, it really is so important to be a positive and optimistic person. In all honesty, I don't think my group of trainees would have completed the course successfully if it wasn't for the support and encouragement we gave each other. Although you are completing this course to become a qualified ESL teacher yourself, you have to be a team player. Working together and sharing ideas is what is needed to be successful.

Living situation- It is like living in first year halls/dorms all over again. Lack of privacy, shared rooms (up to 4/5 people in a room) and shared bathrooms. Although the accommodation doesn't give you any privacy, it is actually really nice. They are modern and there are large kitchens/ living rooms to chill out in. ABCi provides basic food (pasta, pasta sauce, rice, etc) which is a big help. The most important thing is to be flexible. Sometimes you would be relocated to a different town/city with very little notice. Although this can be very frustrating, you just have to take the positives from it- it's a new place, different schools, working with a new senior teacher who will give you more tips, etc.

During my time with ABCi, there was a lot of stress but also a lot of laughter. I would definitely recommend this course if you are looking to become and ESL teacher as it gives you so much experience in such a short amount of time and getting this training in such a beautiful country with lovely students is obviously such a great bonus. You just have to be ready to work and to be committed for the whole time you are there.

How can this program be improved?
More organisation, assignments spaced out better, more privacy in accommodation.
Response from The English Teacher Training College

Dear Grace,
thank you for your review of your time at ABCi.
"you have to be a team player. Working together and sharing ideas is what is needed to be successful." - this is true in life in general but I agree that here it is the key to success.
We wish you all the best for your future adventures in TEFL!

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Maria
10/10

A very rewarding and valuable experience

As someone with 6 months experience teaching in China I was very keen to finally experience teaching in Europe - and when I saw the advertisement for ABCi I thought that this would be a great route for me to go down. ABCi offered me a Trinity Cert TESOL qualification in return for my time - so I got an internationally recognised language teaching qualification for free AND 3 months teaching experience in Austria on top of that - a great addition to my CV. Another great advantage was the variety of experience: a different school each week provided me with the opportunity to teach students from 5/6 years old up to students in their early twenties; and the opportunity to experience small rural schools, huge urban schools and everything between. I could also spend my weekends and down time experiencing many different cities in Austria - from Gmunden, Salzburg, Graz to Vienna. But for me the most valuable part of this experience was helping kids for an NPO. Visiting schools for just one day to provide them with free and fun English lessons and seeing how grateful they were for my time and efforts was incredibly rewarding and important to me. Thank you ABCi for giving me this fantastic opportunity!

Response from The English Teacher Training College

Dear Maria,

We would like to thank you for your kind words and we wish you good luck in your teaching career!

Best Regards,
The English Teacher Training College`s Team

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Toby
10/10

Appreciate the course for what it is and it is worth its weight in gold.

I came to ABCI and Austria off the back of finishing an English Literature degree. I was unsure of what I wanted to do and found the chance of moving to a new country for a short while and learning a new skill to be a fascinating prospect. Teaching, was not something that had interested me before or something that I thought I would ever consider. Throughout the course (January 2016) myself and other trainees were put under immense stress both through teaching and completing various assignments that were required for your certification. It was intense to the extreme, at times it seemed no matter how much time you put in to your assignments and lesson planning that it would not be enough. However, through the help of your fellow trainees and staff members you will find that the college has an atmosphere much like a well meaning, although at times; dysfunctional family. Each individual whether trainee or member of staff were always on hand to help with any problem whether small or large. While this doesn't always mean that things run as smoothly as planned (there will be highs and lows to your experience, as in any new place) it is an experience that I would thoroughly recommend providing you are prepared for one of the busiest workloads I have ever experienced.

Austria as a country is beautiful, while not every weekend will be free for you to roam around, you will find yourself with a little time at least to explore, meet new people and enjoy what Austria has to offer. Through ABCI and my experience in Austria I decided that teaching was in fact a career path that I wanted to explore, and now only a short while after completing the course I find myself about to go into my first paid teaching job in Poland, this can only be down to the support and encouragement I found at ABCI.

Although you may read discouraging reviews for ABCI (English training college of Austria) I would advise you to take them with a pinch of salt. Of course there are areas of improvement for the college but at the same time there are also many fantastic aspects to the college and your own experience that you will not find anywhere else (and "mature students" tend to have forgotten their own time at uni and carry somewhat unrealistic expectations of what living like a student in a dorm is really like).

How can this program be improved?
Organisation,
Facilities.
Response from The English Teacher Training College

Dear Toby,

We would like to thank you for your kind words and we wish you good luck in your teaching career!

Best Regards,
The English Teacher Training College`s Team

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Daniel
10/10

A real gem of an experience

09/29/2016
Apologies for the informality of this review but sometimes I think it is best to just hear it how it is.
This review isn't the average, it is aimed towards the 18-20 year olds that don't have a degree and are trying to find themselves.
I was in Austria around this time last year and everything changed from there. I still always talk about it!
Not only that but it gave me a direction..at only the age of 18. Sometimes it takes someone like Mr Stone to tell you to your face that 'you are a natural teacher' to make you think maybe I could do a bit more of this TEFL stuff.

SO WHAT WAS IT LIKE AT ABCI?
It is no walk in the park, especially if you are on the younger side. It is very demanding, long hours and there is a lot of learning involved on the course. You may get into the habbit of comparing yourself to the others, maybe they have a degree in linguistics, German or are just hyper intelligent. My advice to you is just concentrate on yourself, Rome wasn't built in a day and nor is a good teacher.
Something you will learn is you are constantly learning and so are those others in your group, what you will likely find is they will help you one on one if you ask them so don't be afraid.
For example I could never get the parts of speech down I actually failed the test, I was actually the only one. Everyone helped me every night to prepare for the retake and sure enough I passed. Even Ben Stone who could be regarded as the busiest man in the world, Skype called me to go over some of the things that could be on the test for over 40 minutes! Support like this really shows the caring dedication of ABCI and why people 18-20 can also be right for ABCI life.

IS IT FOR EVERYONE
ABCI is hard work you have some very early mornings, long car rides with your flatmates falling asleep on you and you have to feel the pressure of having your lessons assessed. The first week is non stop! Just remember I know you have never been to uni before so you are not used to staying up late and getting a deadline in early the next day. Do the smart thing a work hard first and play hard second, I get its all new and it will be your first time away from home with no rules but be sensible! If you take this into account you will be able to get up the next morning no trouble making life so much easier.
You will also get quite homesick but everyone is friendly and they are there for you, dont forget the senior teachers are people too. If that doesn't work you could always just bring your home to the classroom. For example, I always told classes no matter the age that the classroom was Manchester it helps you get the 'only English' point across and actually helps fight home sickness. I did it all the time at ABCI. I even think it started to annoy some of my group but it definitely helped!

SO WHY ABCI?
You will not find a more character building course any where in the world. Gmundens mountains, Sanct Poltons whisky bar and Graz' Christmas lights are breathtaking
It is a very good deal because you are very highly subsidised and even though they can't pay for you flight there and back, it is because it just isn't practical only once you have done a CertTESOL and got your certificate from ABCi do you have the experience for companies that would be willing to fly you out somewhere to even look at you. Also the people at ABCi will grow you as a person and a teacher. They gradually get you to grow a thick skin and show you how to give constructive criticism. For example, in my very first assessed lesson I actually said to the students 'come in, come in everyone for a..erm....plenary..' much to Ben Stones amusement.
Although, by far the best thing about ABCi is they contiue to check on us even after leaving, asking if there is anything they can do to help. This I think sets ABCi apart from the rest!
I would and have recommended ABCI to people of all ages but I think those of you like myself at 18 who think they know everything, but are not ready for University definitely should try your hand at TEFL teaching you might like it.
If you have any other questions about ABCi I would be glad to answer them.

How can this program be improved?
Just keep going as you are.
Keep responding to reviews and take in to consideration the feed back.
Response from The English Teacher Training College

Dear Daniel,

We would like to thank you for your kind words and to wish you the best of luck in your teaching career!

We all hope you are well.

The English Teacher Training College

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Emmet
8/10

A great start to your TEFL career

I completed the fall course in 2016 and really had a great time. I had thought for a while about entering the world of teaching having previous worked as a lock-keeper, in hospitality and as an engineer. I am so glad I took the plunge.

The best thing about this course for me was the guaranteed teaching practice. This gave me the opportunity to believe, that by the end of the course, I can teach English. I would now have no problem preparing to walk into a classroom full of teenagers or younger kids and teaching them English after 300+ hours practice with C. 200 different children with different needs and levels. On completion of the course I received both the ABCi TEFL Cert which stated my teaching practice hours (great for prospective employers) , and my CERTTESOL from Trinity College London (recognised worldwide). The accommodation provided is very basic ( and free) however with such long hours (6:30-16:30) this was OK for me as I was away most weekend and just liked to relax in the evenings( There is a video tour of the accommodation on YouTube). Wifi was provided which I found to be quite good ( it did go down for 2 days but once the college was informed it was fixed straight away) and also the monthly food shop of essentials was also very good. Again this was just basics but for 15 people I found it to be quite reasonable. Weekends were all also free ( Germany, Cech Republic, Hungary, Italy and more were visited) and we had a nice Halloween break which gave a great chance to re-charge the batteries.

There is no doubt that this course is difficult and does require hard work however if you are looking for an introduction to TEFL... I would definitely recommend it.

Response from The English Teacher Training College

Hi Emmet,

We would like to thank you for your kind words and we wish you good luck in your teaching career!

Best Regards,
The English Teacher Training College`s Team

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Bree
3/10

Like "The Real World" and army boot camp mixed together

I'll just start this review by saying I left 1 month into this 4 month experience.

This course was very disorganized from the get-go. I was given incorrect or downright false information about where I would be living/teaching, and what these arrangements would be like. This program felt like a constant bait-and-switch, and just seemed to get worse and worse.

Our first week, there were 27 of us living in one "house". I slept in a room with 5 other people in uncomfortable bunk beds in the summertime. It was mosquito infested, and worse, BUG BED infested. The place needed to be fumigated in the middle of our first week. We also did not get any food delivery until the middle of week 2, had no cleaning supplies, and the trashes were overflowing with flies everywhere.

As for the Vorchdorf campus, you will essentially be in the middle of nowhere if you are unlucky enough to get stuck based out of here (which my group did- Unfairly, we only got 2 weeks near Vienna and spent almost the entire remainder of the course in Vorchdorf). The town Gmunden is nearby, but the last train is at 8 pm so forget doing anything on weekend evenings.

As for the teaching, in week 2 you will be teaching for 6 hours per day for a class of usually unruly teenagers with no supervision. There is only one 15 minute break per day. At one point, my students got in a fist fight in my class and I had to scream out the door into the hallway for help, and nobody came.

The grading is extremely harsh. Failing grades are common. Instead of giving the new teacher confidence, we are often torn down. Written assignments are extremely tedious and it is also common to fail or get a D on these assignments. You will be working your butt off and feel like you are constantly on the brink of failure. Some of the course tutors are very nice and helpful, but the overall feel students had on the course was fear that they were not good enough.

The days are long. The commutes were sometimes over 1.5 hours one way to each school. School starts at 7:45 am, sometimes earlier. You will be up EARLY. After teaching 6 straight hours, you will have another 1.5 hour commute, and then have to go to campus for 1-2 hour input sessions.

You will have to walk to campus each day, sometimes with all of your luggage, as the staff refuse to pick us up or drop us off at our accommodation. Why go 2 minutes out of your way when you can make the student teachers suffer? It will be pitch black outside and you will be asked to carry all of your suitcases, teaching materials, and bedding down a long, twisting hill. When I asked the welfare team why we were forced to walk when there were 7 ABCi cars parked in front of the campus, I was ignored. By the way, several of my other emails to welfare were also unanswered. If they do answer, they will do their best to divert the question or deny any wrongdoing or blame.

On our first day, we were lectured about all the different ways we could get kicked off the course and given examples of previous students. You will get at LEAST 1-2 emails per week addressing a "student teacher warning" for things like "someone left the door unlocked", "you had 2 mattresses on your bed", "the garbage wasn't emptied" "you were 1 minute late today". If you get 3 warnings, you get kicked out. There is VERY little appreciation for your hardworking volunteers.

This place is constantly short-staffed but continually expanding, adding more strain to the remaining staff and volunteers. Why keep expanding? One answer: $$$$$$$. Teaching English is supposed to be fun. If you sign up for this, know that there is very very little fun to be had.

No, I don't recommend
Default avatar
Kim
2/10

Just say no

There are many things wrong with this program. One is that at the end of 3.5 months of a 4-month program, many many ST failed their observations. If they had taught us correctly we should have been sailing through the last lessons. There is inconsistent feedback, the accommodations are substandard, ie... a kitchen that is about 8 x 12 is supposed to support 15 ST. How do you cook like that, you simply can't. The "mattresses" are paper thin and are not conducive to a good nights rest, which you will definitely need since door to door is from 5:30 am to 5:30 Pm. You teach all day with no breaks, maybe a 10 min break for lunch. The living conditions are horrid. And the staff are equally horrid, except for some exceptional people. I felt that that no type of constructive criticism is heard. You must call them by their last names, in my opinion, this is very outdated. In response, they said that at Oxford and other universities students call their professors by their last name...WRONG..... AND BTW... this is NOT OXFORD.. this is some little college in Austria that wants to make a big name for themselves. Good luck with that. UNtilL you treat your VOLUNTEERS with respect, this will never happen. This is just the tip of the iceberg of the problems you will have if you decide to go with this program. You are constantly threatened with student warnings if you wear the wrong shoes or use 2 mattresses...and that's just the beginning. If I could just say to you, please please please ...go somewhere else.

Response from The English Teacher Training College

Re: course feedback

We are genuinely sorry that you did not enjoy your time with us here in Austria. We take valid feedback very seriously at the college and are quick to implement suggestions.

To address a couple of concerns directly: there were no students on the last course that failed the Cambridge Trinity CertTESOL component of the programme. All Student Teachers eventually gained the qualification, after being given the help and support they needed to pass observed lessons on re-submission. We appreciate the course is challenging, both physically and mentally. That said, there are undoubtedly things on which we can improve and supporting trainees is certainly one of those things. The next course has already been amended in response to feedback from course participants, external course moderators and course tutors and these changes will address many points raised by students. To show our commitment to improving and standardising our students' professional learning and teaching experience a highly-experienced Director of Studies has been brought into the organisation from the British Council in order to immediately improve these processes.

Ultimately from an academic point of view candidates come out with a Trinity CertTESOL certificate and a much higher number of teaching hours (around 250 hours) and observed teaching (30 hours) than your average newly qualified teacher which is very valuable to potential employers.

In terms of accommodation: microwaves & mini-refrigerators have been installed in the dorm rooms and new cooking facilities installed in the communal kitchen. Additionally, hot dinners will now be served for student teachers, free of charge, four nights a week at our Vienna campus. The College had not necessarily heard some of these issues before and will endeavor to implement improvements for future student teachers of all generations and backgrounds (including mature student teachers), and continue to deliver a rewarding TEFL training course, unique in its field in Europe, if not the world.

No, I don't recommend
Default avatar
James
8/10

A great, tough experience

This experience was pretty intense. They get you pretty much straight into Austrian classrooms, with a 'learning by doing' kind of approach. But that's not to say that there isn't a serious academic side to the course. I didn't have any proper teaching experience before this but I became fascinated with the challenge of keeping kids engaged with English while having fun with them. Working with the kids is a big upside to the course, sure sometimes they are difficult but most of the time they really keep you going with unexpected presents and unusual behaviour!

The main struggle is keeping up with the schedule and the coursework, as three months was barely enough time to fit everything in. You can certainly expect some unthinkably long days, where the idea of that TEFL certificate is just about the only thing keeping you going - but looking back I see the amount we learned in that time as gargantuan. Plus you get to be in Austria, always finding new things, people and places.

I could count myself as a 'success story' as I walked straight out of the college into a job in Salzburg - I feel very prepared to teach English in just about any scenario.

How can this program be improved?
By taking into account student feedback, which I know they do. They are always trying to streamline things so that trainees have less travel time and more opportunity for study and leisure.
Response from The English Teacher Training College

Hi James,

First of all, a happy New Year to you!

Secondly, thank you very much for your kind words and I really hope you enjoyed your time with us in Austria.

I wish you good luck in your future career as well.

Take care!
Lucian
The English Teacher Training College

Yes, I recommend

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About The English Teacher Training College

The English Teacher Training College and its associated Austrian Bilingual Classroom Initiative (ABCi) is a not-for-profit Austrian college with a dual mission: Firstly, as a college, to provide a world-leading practical education in English teacher...